Oil barons part ways with Thibodeau

The Fort McMurray Oil Barons have decided to mutually part ways with Head Coach and GM Gord Thibodeau.

Citing personal reasons, President David Fitzgerald said he respects Thibodeau’s decision.

“We had a discussion, and he needed to step away for personal reasons, and to respect his privacy, I respect that.”

Moving forward, Assistant Coach Justin Rose will take over as interim Head Coach of the Oil Barons.

When asked if Rose has a chance to take over permanently as Head Coach, Fitzgerald said he’s looking at all options.

“I’ll never disregard any potential option that would be in the best interest of the organization and best interest of our players and our program.”

In the meantime, the Oil Barons are actively looking for some support on the bench to assist Rose with the coaching duties, hoping to fill another assistant role as soon as possible.

Going forward the Oil Barons need to stay on course with the strong foundation that Thibodeau built.

“We just need to continue to do what we’ve done this year, that has given us success that we’ve had so far,” said Fitzgerald.

“Gord put a lot of value and experience and knowledge in to the organization, and if we are able to continue to build on that and follow that path, I think we’ll be okay.”

This was Thibodeau’s second stint with the Oil Barons, taking over as Head Coach & GM back in the 2003/2004 season for 11 years until 2014. He then came back in 2019 for the same role.

The Fort McMurray Oil Barons currently sit in first place of the Viterra North Division with 52 points (26 Wins – 6 Losses) which is good for second overall in the AJHL behind the Brooks Bandits with 59 points (29W – 1L – 1 OTL.)


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